Amazon announced plans of spending around $700 million over the next six years for programs that would ensure the jobs of over 100,000 employees. The programs are reportedly designed for the company's workforce to adapt to the changes brought about by new technologies such as automation.
According to Amazon, all of the training it will be providing will be completely voluntary.
The new programs are an extension of the company's ongoing training and initiatives. Employees who undergo the new training will essentially be transferred to more advanced positions, including positions that are outside of the company.
The new plan, called "Upskilling 2025," is designed to have 100,000 slots for employees who are interested in acquiring positions they would otherwise be unqualified for without the training. Typical warehouse workers, for example, would be given the chance to take on IT and software positions.
The training will provide these workers with the know-how to operate newer systems even if they have very limited technical backgrounds.
Part of the program will also focus on training workers for positions in the company's rapidly growing cloud business. Through its Amazon Apprenticeship program, workers will be able to get paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships.
In a prepared statement, Amazon's head of HR, Beth Galetti, mentioned that Amazon sees the importance in investing in its employees. The programs being offered are apparently designed to give employees the change to learn new skills for them to create more professional options for themselves.
Like many other US companies, Amazon is now rapidly embracing the use of new technologies such as robotics, software, and automation. Machines like these are expected to displace around 20 million jobs in the manufacturing sector across the world in the next ten years. According to a study conducted by Oxford Economics, the displacement will account for about 8.5 percent of the global manufacturing workforce.
To offset the possible displacement and to ensure that it retains around a third of its workforce, Amazon's program will be offering training for jobs that are directly related to its planned automation.
According to the company, some of its most sought after positions include jobs involved in machine learning, robotics, cloud computing, computer science, information technology, and automated manufacturing.
While the new initiative has sparked employment interest in the company, it had recently experienced tensions with its workforce following announcements of its plan to shorten delivery times for Prime members to only one day. The announcement led to complaints from workers union's reasoning that the move would endanger workers who are already struggling to keep up with the company's demands.